Runaround Bag

Runaround Bag

It’s time to reveal my secret sewing project! I visited my sister-in-law last weekend, and since we won’t see her again until after Christmas I gave her an early present. The bag is what I made with those red wool skirts. Remember? The pattern is called The Runaround Bag from Noodlehead. It’s a really, really great pattern –  perfectly written and easy to follow, what with all the pictures. The pattern is a steal for $7, considering that I could probably make at least one of these bags a year for the foreseeable future.  In addition, the pattern includes a license so you’re allowed to sell any bags you make on a small scale. How cool is that?

Runaround Bag

For this red bag, I used two thrift store skirts; one for the lining and one for the exterior. They are different shades of red, and I put the lighter/brighter one on the inside. The red on the outside is a deeper and richer color. One downside of the whole “thrifting for fabric” thing? There is a lot of waste, and it’s a job just figuring out if you have enough pieces with the seams in the right spot, etc. But I’ve saved all the waste to hopefully put into another project someday.

The blue bias tape binding fabric, while not thrifted, came from a yard sale! Other than the interfacing and the thread, this is a very old bag.

Runaround Bag

Shortly after I gave it to my sister-in-law, I found it hanging from a hook in her house. It was meant to live with her, as you can plainly see.


Roqua! That’s RED+AQUA! They were MFEO (made for each other).

I made a second bag using the gray Pendleton skirt from this post, and without taking a single picture of it gave it to my niece. Sad face (that I didn’t take any pictures) but happy face (because she was so, so happy).

I may or may not be making more bags. They may or may not be for you. I may or may not keep one for myself. NO ONE KNOWS.

I also may or may not have developed a serious addiction to looking for wool at the thrift stores. And then buying it and bringing it home to cut it all to pieces. I have a problem.

More Good Wool

More thrift store wool

As promised, I headed back to the thrift stores on Monday, looking for more wool. This time I had luck at the local Salvation Army. It really is a quick process for me. I start by finding the right aisle, then I quickly flip through the clothes, keeping my eyes peeled and using my hand to feel for wool. When I come across an item that might be wool, I go straight for the tag and hope for the best.

Here’s what I found. And it made me happy.

More thrift store wool

The skirt is 80% wool and 20% polyester. Normally I wouldn’t be interested in a wool blend, but the quality and condition of this skirt are excellent. The color is just what I want for my project and because of the pleats, there’s a lot of fabric to work with. It cost $3.

More thrift store wool

Here’s the next one I found, another $3 skirt.

More thrift store wool

The color is perfect. Just what I wanted. Here’s the tag.

More thrift store wool

I just googled Pendleton Woolen Mills. The company is still in operation in Portland, Oregon, and still using the tagline “Warranted to be a Pendleton”. I like the blankets they have on their website, especially this 5th Avenue Glacier Park Throw made in the U.S.A. of 100% merino. Yes, please.

Do we have time for an aside? That Glacier Park Throw is 54″x72″ and costs $138 + shipping. It immediately reminded me of a recent Purl Bee post for the Hudson Bay Inspired Crib Blanket. I was tipped off on Twitter about the outrageous project costs of Purl Bee stuff (which I love despite how $$ they are, BTW) so I just did the math. The crib blanket has a finished size of 34″x39″ and the yarn costs $335.00 + shipping. And then you have to knit it.

Anyway. Think on that for a while.

The Pendleton skirt is a size 18, so again, lots of fabric to work with!

More thrift store wool

Next I went to the aisle that had women’s suits, and I found this beautiful skirt and jacket. And when I say beautiful, you know I mean that I’m going to cut it all up and make it MORE beautiful, right? Although this is a pretty nice suit.

More thrift store wool

The pattern is a very fine check.

More thrift store wool

This skirt has a zipper, which I’ll use in my project. Bonus! And here are the tags from this one.

More thrift store wool

I also googled David Brooks Ltd but mostly it’s just ebay auctions for skirts and stuff like this.

I hope I don’t jinx myself for saying this, but I have all the supplies I need to make some headway with these items tomorrow! I will not have any errands to run – mark my words. Tomorrow is crafting day!

Good Wool


I am sure that most of last year’s Christmas celebrations were completely awesome. But what I remember most is that last year I vowed to do two things this year. 1 – Not send out Christmas cards and 2 – Make more crafts. Last year’s Christmas cards made me all Grinchmaster 2000. I can’t explain exactly why, but it was awful. I already feel better about this Christmas season now that I’m not sending out 45 or whatever silly number I thought I needed to send. And on the crafting front, last year I don’t think we made a damn thing! So I’m trying to plan manageable crafts, with easy to obtain supplies, that can be done mostly by the kids. So far I have the supplies for one craft and one baking project and the kids are so excited about both! Yay! I think there’s at least two other things that we could manage to make, plus all the cookies.

Yes, I’m being vague about crafts, but since everyone and their mother is reading, I don’t want to spoil surprises!

But I can tell you about parts of what I’m doing. The whole story will be revealed in time. The red things hanging on my clothesline above are skirts that I found at the Goodwill yesterday. I also got an amazing men’s coat in a gorgeous herringbone pattern.


I took this picture just after they all had a nice long soak in my bathtub with wool wash, followed by a spin in the washing machine. Other than linings in these items, they are all made with wool. All three items were in impeccable condition (I always look for signs of moths, and often find lots of holes, but not on these!). Once they were dry, the wrinkles you can see in the pictures went away. I was going to try to get a better picture of the skirts, but well, I got excited this morning.

The red skirts got torn up and put back together. The thing I made with them is the best thing ever! Since I’m not telling you about it, I told Gerald everything about it, all day, including multiple exclamations of “This is the best thing I ever made!!!!!!!!!” or something along those lines. He can now hold his own in a sewist’s discussion of bias tape – including the merits of homemade versus store bought.

I am really excited about the prospect of buying high quality wool for really, really good prices. The skirts were $3.75 each and the coat was $14.00. You can bet that on Monday I’ll be doing my tour of the thrift stores, trying to score some more good deals for more craft ideas! I have big plans for that coat, but it’ll need some careful planning.

I’m so excited about doing all these little and not so little crafts, preparing for Christmas. So much better than last year, already!